Seattle Thunderbirds at Portland Winterhawks: Preview, updates, chat, how to listen and watch – OregonLive

What: The Portland Winterhawks (42-16-3-2) take on the Seattle Thunderbirds (40-17-4-2) in Western Hockey League action.
When: Saturday, April 2, 6pm.
Where: Memorial Coliseum.
Watch: TV in Portland on CW 32. You can stream the game via the CHL TV pay per view (CDN$6.99 for one game).
Listen: Winterhawks and Thunderbirds audio.
The Winterhawks won Friday night, in a game we would have called a miracle normally but has been old hat with their season series with Everett. Marcus Nguyen and Clay Hanus scored in the last 3:31 to tie the game, and then Cross Hanas, who set up Hanus equalizer, scored in overtime to clinch the 5-4 win.
The win gives them a little bit of breathing room as they jockey for playoff position. They stay 3 points ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds coming into Saturday’s head-to-head, so they can’t lose their grip on 3rd in one night. Their schedule is a little tougher, so the extra space is welcome.
Is gaining 3rd spot a big deal? It probably is. 3rd place means you get Vancouver or Victoria in the first round of the playoffs, 4th place means a matchup with Kelowna. Kelowna is the better team so you’d prefer to avoid them. Portland swept the season series with Kelowna, while they went 0-3 versus Vancouver and 1-2 versus Victoria, which probably doesn’t mean much. I don’t know if in the end the actual advantage justifies how much we talk about it.
A win would clinch home-ice advantage in the first round.
Tyson Kozak missed Friday’s game, and it’s not clear if he’s available for Saturday.
Hanas, quiet for most of the game, had the happy ending and ended up with 3 points, and is now 8th in the league.
Fromm-Delorme had a big game with a goal and an assists, and his point streak is at 4. Klassen has a 3-game streak.
Leading forwards: Hanas (80 points/58 games), Stefan (72/63), Kozak (67/62), Klassen (59/63), Dureau (58/44).
Hanus scored a goal for his third straight game, and has been a good defender when his fellow defensemen struggled against the Silvertips.
Leading defensemen: Hanus (67/63), Cagnoni (33/58), McCleary (27/58).
Gauthier made a big series of saves when it could have been 5-2 Everett; instead Portland scored to make it 4-3 en route to their comeback.
Save percentages: Gauthier .930, Giannuzzi .892.
Beat up the last times they played the Winterhawks, the Thunderbirds have gotten veteran defenseman Tyrel Bauer and top scorers Jared Davidson and Henrik Rybinski back. But they’re still missing NHL draftee Lucas Ciona and veteran defenseman Ryan Gottfried, and have had forward Jordan Gustafson and top NHL prospect Samuel Knazko missing with day-to-day injuries.
They’ve taken advantage of a favorable schedule to win four games in a row against Vancouver and Tri-City. After Saturday they have three games where they’re big favorites and a game against Everett. So if they get within one point, or even two if they win in overtime, they have to like their chances.
Additional players out are Ludwig, day-to-day, and Sanders, out for the season. Ciona is week-to-week; the others could come back any time.
Leading forwards: Davidson (78/60), Svejkovsky (72/54), Roulette (60/60), Rybinski (57/43), Schaefer (52/61).
Knazko missed the two games against Tri-City.
Leading defensemen: Korchinski (57/62), Hanzel (29/58), Knazko (16/23).
With soft landings the last few games, they’ve alternated Milic and Ratzlaff, and Milic is rested for Saturday’s game.
Save percentages: Milic .911, Ratzlaff .905.
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